Get Rhythm!

A family is a particular team. During the year in which my husband and daughter lived in New York and my son and I stayed in Switzerland, we made it a habit to have regular Sunday family meals together over skype. New York prepared lunch while Biel/Bienne in Switzerland had dinner, and we usually discussed what would be on the menu so we could have, for instance, Mac and Cheese while we were one ocean apart.

This was the only form of exchange we had as a family for one year, but it gave us a sense of being a family while being apart. We would catch up on what had happened during the week and had conversations about adventures we were planning next.

Working together requires regular interaction. The «every day» part in this postcard shows an ideal state. And not all teams can meet every day. But they should aim at meeting regularly, with purpose and a rhythm.

Cadence — that is the regularity at which something occurs — is important for groups because it gives people in the group the security that there will always be an opportunity to continue the discussion next time. This makes everyone much more relaxed.

Regularity also gives groups the chance to set a specific time frame for the meeting and to stick to it because they know that soon enough, they will meet again and be able to continue the conversation. I often encourage teams to start with short meetings of 15 to 20 minutes where everyone stands (that is we call them “Standups”). Keeping a meeting short and timeboxed helps, over time, to be focused on the topics with the highest importance or value.

In general, regularity creates a sense of security. Also, if a team meets every day (or at least several times a week), it can practice the art of having conversations, of listening to each other, of understanding where the other person is coming from. If meetings are few and far between, teams lack practice in this and there are far more misunderstandings.

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